Forensic technicians work at the scene following a shooting at the London Pub, a popular gay bar and nightclub, in central Oslo, Norway June 25, 2022. Terje Pedersen/NTB/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NORWAY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN NORWAY.

It should have been the start of a hilarious weekend of partying – but deadly gunshots have turned a popular gay bar in Oslo into a place of horror. In the center of the Norwegian capital, a suspected lone gunman shot and killed two people on Saturday night. At least 21 others were injured, according to the police, ten of them seriously.

As a result, Norway has now raised its national terror alert level to the highest level. The risk of a terrorist threat is “extraordinarily” high, said the Norwegian secret service PST on Saturday, as reported by broadcaster NRK. Authorities chief Roger Berg said the act was viewed as an Islamist-motivated terrorist attack. Terrorism alert level five now applies. So far it was level three.

In the center of the Norwegian capital, a suspected lone gunman shot other people in and around a gay bar on Saturday night. The authorities are investigating suspected terrorism. There is a strong case of hate crime, police said. The attacker is said to be a Norwegian with Iranian roots. He was arrested during the night.

The nightclub “London Pub” – the main target of the attacks – is considered a popular meeting place for gays, lesbians and other members of the queer scene in Oslo. On its own website, the club describes itself as the city’s best “gay bar” and “gay headquarters since 1979”. Actually, many wanted to celebrate there into the weekend: On Saturday, after cancellations due to the corona pandemic, a “Pride Parade” should have taken place in Oslo for the first time – it was canceled again.

The “London Pub” was not the only crime scene, shots were also fired in other places in the party mile. During the night, the police arrested a suspect near the scene of the crime. Civilians who were present would have helped.

Investigator Christian Hatlo told the Norwegian newspaper “VG” that the 42-year-old had previously committed a criminal offense. He was sentenced to several months in prison for drug offenses. During the night, the police searched his home. Investigators wanted to comment on the details on Saturday afternoon.

The act caused horror in Norway. King Harald V (85) called on his countrymen to stand together. It is important to uphold common values ​​such as freedom, diversity and respect for one another so that everyone can feel safe. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre expressed his condolences to the victims’ families after a “cruel and deeply shocking attack”. The social democrat assured the queer community: “We stand by your side.” Former conservative prime minister Erna Solberg said the freedom to love whoever you like had been attacked.

The organizers of Oslo’s “Pride Parade”, who actually wanted to celebrate their 40th parade on Saturday, canceled the entire event on the advice of the police. “We will soon be proud and visible again,” said “Pride” boss Kristin Haugsevje. But now you want to stop and send love and good wishes to the relatives of the victims.

Oslo Mayor Marianne Borgen only reported on Friday evening how much the city was looking forward to the parade after years of the pandemic. Rain bean flags still lined the whole of Oslo on Saturday – not only restaurants and bars, but also embassies and official buildings.

On the eve of the planned spectacle, there had already been celebrations in many places in the city late into the night. Even just before midnight it was not quite dark on the June night. In the “London Pub” the exuberant mood turned to panic after the first shots were fired. An eyewitness told NRK that he fled inside and took as many people with him as possible.

On Saturday morning there was a lot of barrier tape on the celebration mile in the center instead of “Pride” costumes. The police cordoned off the area around the “London Bar” on a large scale. The Norwegian secret service PST wrote on Twitter that there were no signs of further planned acts of violence.

Just eight months ago, a killing spree shook the Scandinavian country. A 38-year-old Dane attacked passers-by with bows and arrows and knives in the southeastern Norwegian city of Kongsberg last October, killing five of them, including a 52-year-old German woman.

At trial he pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder. According to experts, the 38-year-old has suffered from paranoid schizophrenia since 2007. A court on Friday ordered the assassin to be held in a psychiatric institution for life.

The worst violent crime to date in Norway’s post-war period occurred on July 22, 2011. Anders Behring Breivik, now 42 years old and now calling himself Fjotolf Hansen, detonated a car bomb in Oslo’s government district on July 22, 2011, killing eight people .

He then massacred the participants of the annual summer camp of the youth wing of the Social Democratic Labor Party on Utøya. 69 mostly young people were killed on the island. Breivik named right-wing extremist and Islamophobic motives for his actions.

In the summer of 2012 he was sentenced by the Oslo District Court to the maximum sentence at the time of 21 years in preventive detention with a minimum term of ten years. This time frame included 445 days in custody.